Stories about KPK

Who thought Nawaz Sharif would turn out to be a bigger liberal than Imran Khan?

Is this really Nawaz Sharif? The religious-right choked on their tea when Nawaz Sharif shared his vision of a more ‘liberal’ Pakistan during a speech to the international business community in late 2015. Some thought he misspoke. Others felt he was pandering. When hours later, in response to the anger, the Pakistani prime minister clarified his statement, it seemed like Nawaz was caving in. But, no. Over the course of his leadership, it has become clear that rather than deep frying, Nawaz Sharif believes in slow roasting a chicken. In this hyperventilating country, perhaps this is what Pakistan needs. Case in point: When Imran Khan ...

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In Pakistan, we have 13-year-old rape victims

The terrible news of a 13-year-old girl, raped and impregnated by her teacher in Larkana, Sindh, breaks the heart over and over again. The only good thing about this is that the teacher has been arrested, and has confessed to the crime (now that the child is four months pregnant). A powerful essay talks about how nobody in the government has taken notice of this case. Worse, the community blames the victim’s family for not protecting her “honour”. Supposedly they should have protected her “honour” by either never letting her go to school in the first place, or by killing her as soon as they ...

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Why schools, colleges and universities?

As I am watching the attack on Bacha Khan University in Charsadda unfold on live television, I am forced to relive the horror of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Army Public School (APS) attack which took place approximately a year ago. For the millions of Pakistanis who witnessed that attack on live television, APS is a scar that is not going to heal. I can only pray for the students at Bacha Khan and their families. Vehement protest, which perhaps is the best emotion to represent our feelings, will fall on deaf ears like the hundreds of similar protests across Pakistan following other ...

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The loving humanitarian efforts of an American in Pakistan

Due to frequent media images of violent anti-American protests as well as repeated travel-safety warnings from the State Department, most Americans avoid visiting Pakistan. However, Todd Shea, the founder of Comprehensive Disaster Response Services (CDRS), has adopted Pakistan as his home and is running several welfare projects there. I learnt about Todd Shea on Facebook several months ago when I was browsing through a list of ‘People you may know’. Pleasantly surprised to learn about the humanitarian work he was doing in Pakistan, I began to closely follow CDRS activities on social media. The 2005 earthquake and the great need to help its victims brought Shea to ...

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What is Pakistan’s national dish? Hint: It’s not daal roti!

During lunch, a colleague asked us what is the national dish of Pakistan, and everyone present provided a different answer. I said that’s easy, it has to be daal roti (lentils and flat bread), right? This was quickly rebutted by someone mentioning that it has to be a rice-based dish and that roti is not as common as you may think, especially in the past decade or so.  One would assume the answer is biryani? I mean who does not eat biryani? But no, it cannot be. Biryani is too elite a meal and too limited to certain regions of this vast and culturally diverse country. ...

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Dear Hamza Ali Abbasi, Mahira Khan, Reham Bhabi and Ayyan Ali – Hi!

Open letters are the new ‘in’ thing. Everyone, while not busy taking selfies or engaging in internet wars, is writing them. Unlike personal letters that are addressed to and only read by the person intended, these have a universal appeal. Hence, I decided to write a few of my own, a series of them in fact. Here is the first one: To Hamza Ali Abbasi from an Online Jihadi. Hazrat Hamza Ali Abbasi Sahib, My heart sank when I saw the trailer of your upcoming movie, Jawani Phir Nahin Ani. And it sank even further to the bottom of the very pool you were seen ...

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Dear Senate, instead of new legislations, how about implementing the old ones?

What are thou going to do today, my lord? I am going to protect minorities in Pakistan. And how would thou protect minorities, my lord? By making new laws! But what about the old laws, my lord? Hmm, they are old and obsolete. How would thou save the new laws, my lord, from becoming obsolete? For that I need to form a committee! Recently, a Senate committee got together to discuss a fresh piece of legislation to help protect the religious minorities in Pakistan. After the killings of 1,456 Hazaras in Balochistan over a period of seven years and other minorities in Sindh, Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), the Senate committee on human ...

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Pakistan, a nation filled with tolerance and forgiveness

Now and again, we are reminded that it’s impossible to politely engage everyone on this planet and no tolerant society should ever try doing that. It is important to begin by recognising that religious intolerance has a number of dimensions within it. Sources of religious intolerance, for instance, can be the actions or policies of governments and/or the actions or beliefs of individuals or groups in the society. Targets of religious intolerance can include members of specific religions or religion in general, people who choose to change or disregard their religion, and even the people randomly victimised by religion-related terror or armed ...

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Did the Judicial Commission and dharnas even benefit PTI?

The Judicial Commission has finally given its conclusion that the 2013 elections were fair and in accordance with the law. Some who are against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) would perhaps only see this as an opportunity to mock the 126-day dharna (protest) which apparently for many only benefited one man, DJ Butt. On the other hand, those in favour of PTI would perhaps see this as another failure of the system to deliver justice and would conclude that the Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk is also incapable of holding a fair inquiry. This is exactly where we fail time and again that we tend to adopt extreme views ...

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Dear PTI, your DJ Butt is no better than PML-N’s Gullu Butt

These days, it is easier to find a similarity between the colours black and white as compared to finding similarities between Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). You will always find them on opposite sides of the table, bashing each other with no holds barred, accusing each other’s leadership of being corrupt, disloyal, and crooked. Their followers seem to be following the same course as well. They stoop to petty lows to defame their counterparts. Social media is now being used as a popular weapon where even personal lives of leaders are not spared. Interestingly though, these rival parties do have one thing ...

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